We tried an alternate route to the house of Mr. Robincat's grandmother (aka Juanita) this year. Normally in the summer, we either take I-20 East from Shreveport to Birmingham, then north to Chattanooga, and cross the Ocoee River into North Carolina. In the winter, when we have to make a choice of ice versus snow, we take I-30 East from Dallas, through Arkansas and Tennesee (with a gratuitous barbecue stop in Memphis), and then drive the Tail of the Dragon (Hwy 129 for you non-motorcyclists) from Knoxville to Robbinsville. If the weather is bad, we go through Smoky Mountain National Park through Gatlinburg. And if the weather is REALLY bad (as it was for Sarah's first Christmas), we get detoured all the way to the I-40 just north of Asheville and took the Highway 74 back East for an hour.
But with all that said...
THIS time we drove the northern route and tried the Cherohala Skyway. Definitely not a foul weather route, but much fewer switchbacks and crazy motorcycles than Tail of the Dragon. It is effing beautiful. Too bad Richard slept through almost the whole drive. Mr. Robincat and I noshed on Key Lime Fudge from some truck stop in Tennessee to keep our ears clear. It was REALLY good candy and I wish I could remember where we got it. All I know is they give you free coffee with a fill-up on gas.
First up is Bald River Falls. It's a half-hour detour into the depths of the National Forest, but well worth the effort.
And now for the kids on the highest point of Santeetlah. That would be 5390 ft (1642m) above sea level. I was a little altitude affected, but everyone else was fine.
This is the Turkey Creek lookout. And I kid you not, this is the view you get when you step out of the public restroom.